Historical Issues of The Commuter now Online

The public can now read historical issues of Linn-Benton Community College’s student newspaper, The Commuter, through a free online archive.

The digitized back issues are hosted in CommunityArchive@LBCC, an online archive launched in summer 2017 and hosted by the LBCC Library. Student employees Chase Sublette and Bowen Orcutt digitized the 1,324 issues over the 2017-18 academic year. The first issue dates to Jan. 30, 1970.

Michaela Willi Hooper, LBCC Open Educational Resources and Textbook Affordability Librarian, helped oversee the project. “I’m excited to see this trove available to people interested in the history of Linn and Benton counties,” said Hooper. “It provides an important snapshot of our college’s past as we celebrate our 50th anniversary.”

Jane Sandberg is LBCC’s Electronic Resources Librarian, and serves as the software developer and system administrator for CommunityArchive@LBCC.  “Members of the LBCC Community are very naturally drawn to the history of this place where we study and work,” said Sandberg.  “Thanks to the hard work of Chase and Bowen, we can learn about LBCC culture in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s and find events from the past that surprise and inspire us, and gain a deeper understanding of our college.”

Student employee Bowen Orcutt said, “One thing I enjoyed about the project, especially with the older issues, was getting to read about history from a first-hand perspective. One example that stuck out to me was reading about the Iran Hostage crisis from the 1970s, and how the people at the time reacted to it. On that note, something I noticed while doing this project was that editorials back then were a lot more… blunt. ESPECIALLY during Bill Clinton’s election back the ‘90s.”

Student employee Chase Sublette said: “I really liked seeing how things have changed as well as haven’t changed. I noticed that there were many issues discussed back in the ‘70s that are still relevant today like marijuana and abortion. I also liked reading some of the more lighthearted moments like how in Volume 10, Edition 8, the editor Dale Stowell wrote about his typewriter talking to him. I also think the cover of Volume 42, Edition 21 was the best out of every issue. As for how many hours it took, it’s probably in the hundreds.”

The Commuter’s faculty adviser, Rob Priewe, said of the archive, “For the college and community, as well as current and past Commuter staffers, this is an amazing new resource that makes available all this history and interesting articles, photos and advertisements that previously could only be accessed in the paper volumes on the back shelf of the newspaper office. It’s easy to get caught up for hours looking at these pages from the past.” 

For more information, contact Michaela Willi Hooper at 541-917-4660 or willihm@linnbenton.edu.


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